Lynne (lynnearlington) wrote,
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Fic: Love Is A Burning Thing [1/3]

Title: Love Is A Burning Thing [1/3]
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Brittany/Santana
Rating: Hard R
Word Count: 22k
Spoilers: None, this is AU
Summary: Since before she can remember, Santana has always been mesmerized by fire.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
Note: A big thank you to about the four people I consistently bugged about this fic or that bugged me about it. You were all a big help, seriously. zerodetorres, dealan311, gogogorilla, and mooosicaldreamz. Honorable mention to losdosmos for coming up with completely unhelpful title suggestions.
Note 2: This is sort of a prompt fill from the glee_fluff_meme even though I totally changed it around. The prompt is here.



Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable. - Bruce Lee


--


Since before she can remember, Santana has always been mesmerized by fire. There's something about the way it sparks to life, the way it devours and consumes and destroys and the way it slowly fades away, leaving a wake of ruin behind it.

When she was eight, there was a fire in her house, big and bold as it turned the entire place to ash in the matter of minutes. Her parents were still inside as she stood on the lawn and watched, fascinated as the heat beat against her face and her feet sunk into cold, dewy grass. Her whole life flew to the heavens in a rush of flames and she just watched it happen with a dropped jaw and wide, shiny eyes.

It should have morphed fire into something sinister and evil and it should have invaded her nightmares and ruined her daydreams but instead all it did was turn a fascination into a healthy respect. But as the walls of her childhood came down, the walls around her heart shot up and she supposes that’s where it all really starts - that first fire.

After that she had what some would call a troubled childhood full of fighting and arson and a whole slew of things that should have left her dead in an alleyway. Somehow, and to this day Santana's not really sure how, she managed to survive - even managed to get her head on straight, rack up some college credit and take the firefighter's exam. Life was tough but Santana was tougher and on her 22nd birthday, she passed the test with flying colors.

But there's still a big part of her, just shifting and coiling under her skin that's all street, that's hardened to the bone and distrustful of the world but she's never thought of it as bad, never cursed the man upstairs for her shitty past. It was just a part of her and that was fine. In fact, she’s pretty sure if her life were any different she’d be much worse off - too emotional, too quick to trust, all those other sappy things that are more likely to break her than what she got into as a kid.

She hates to admit it, but it was Puck, a friend of hers, more like a brother really, from one of her foster homes, that got her out of the hellhole that was her life. Idiot decided he was going straight and becoming a cop - totally fucked over her life of crime. How that moron actually became a cop legitimately will never be clear to her but she can't deny that without his pep talk about "not being a fuck up forever," she'd still be running through dark alleys to make shady deals and throwing Molotov cocktails through windows. She half hates him and half loves him for it.

At the lovely age of twenty-three, after a year of putting fires out instead of starting them, she learns that firefighting is about the best adrenaline rush ever and full of all the things she loved when she was a kid - only this time, it isn't getting her into trouble. Firefighting is like wrestling a really ferocious animal - it’s volatile and unpredictable and each one has its own personality, its own story.

It's dangerous and hard and sometimes the most unglamorous thing in the world but Santana loves it. She feels more at home with the guys in the fire house or in a burning building with an axe in her hand than in her own apartment.

She meets Mike Chang in college and they become an unlikely pair of friends. Santana is all hot temper and sarcasm while Mike is more smiles and hugs and jokes, but for whatever reason, they end up hanging around each other. Santana tells him it's because he has an outdoor grill at his apartment and a refrigerator with an unending supply of beer but Mike insists it's because she can't resist his beautiful face and rocking six-pack. He becomes a firefighter right after she does and now rides next to her in their truck. They have an illegal amount of fun together and Santana is pretty sure Mike is responsible for punching her one-way ticket straight to Hell, but she doesn't really care; she knew that's where she was headed long before she met Mike.

Puck and Mike are kind of it, as far as people go. The rest of the world can frankly go fuck themselves as far as Santana’s concerned. It’s not like people have done a whole lot for her.

--

It's an uneventful day. Which in Santana's world is the worst kind of day. At the moment, she's got her feet propped up on the corner of the table as she leans back in her chair and stares at Mike over the top of a hand of cards spread in front of her nose. Mike raises an eyebrow at her and purses his lips as he surveys his own cards before looking back at her and then back to his hand.

She yawns and picks up a cup of coffee next to her elbow, taking a slow sip as she waits for Mike to make his move. A slow stream of smoke slithers upward from an ashtray down the table as Matt Rutherford rocks his chair back and forth and focuses on a TV mounted on the wall - a football game is playing on the screen.

"Yo, Rutherford," Santana barks. "I have to inhale that shit all day. You mind?"

Matt turns to observe her, his eyes running up and down her body before he reaches for his cigarette, inhaling deeply and blowing the smoke straight towards her.

Mike laughs as Santana sets her coffee down to swipe at the air. "Ass," she mutters.

"Not my fault you quit," Matt replies, turning back to the TV.

The microwave beeps and Matt bursts out of his chair to retrieve his food so Santana looks back at Mike, still studying his hand like it holds the secrets to the universe.

"To-to-to-today, junior," she stammers at him as she rocks her chair back a little. Mike rolls his eyes and she smirks, challenging him with a raise of her eyebrow.

An alarm rings across the station before Mike can say anything and Santana jerks her head up, the legs of her chair crashing down as her feet leave the table and hit the floor. Mike throws his cards on the table and shoots upward.

"Finally," she says, chucking her cards on the table. "I was about to go commit arson just to have something to fucking do."

Mike laughs. "Ten bucks says it's not even a fire. Fifty says it's burnt popcorn."

She shushes him as they walk to their truck, shoving him to the side but laughing. "Don't jinx it, asshole."

He laughs and puts his hands up defensively as they grab their jackets and helmets and Santana pulls heavy pants up her legs, tugging the suspenders over her shoulders and hopping in the fire truck after Mike.

"Whooo," Mike lets out in a low whoop, grinning like a madman at Santana. "Let's rock."

"Let's roll," Santana shouts, grinning wide as the sirens come alive and their truck moves out of the station.

--

It takes them a good ten minutes to make it to the call, but soon they're pulling up to a small, nondescript apartment building and Santana's jumping out of the truck, Mike right behind her as the rest of the crew piles out. Judging from the chaos and the smell of burning wood that hits Santana's nose, it isn't just burnt popcorn.

There's smoke steaming out of an upstairs window and a mom and her daughter huddled together on the street to her right. Santana pulls her jacket tighter around her body and sends up a small, quick prayer, crossing herself subtly as she follows Mike up the stairs and into thick, black smoke.

This is how everything changes. In a burning building full of fire and ash.

--

Santana gets to the third floor, squinting to see through smoke when she spots the longest pair of legs she's ever seen poking out from a doorway, the door only partly ajar and smoke obscuring the interior.

"Shit," she mutters when she realizes those legs are probably attached to a person. "Shit, shit, shit, Mike!"

Her friend stomps up the stairs behind her and looks over her shoulder at the pair of legs. "Shit, get in there and grab her arms, I'll take the legs."

Santana steps over the body and pushes the door open the rest of the way, bursting through the screen of smoke to reveal the rest of the body attached to the legs and squatting down to lift the torso off the ground. She grunts as she stands, Mike lifting the legs up and moving backwards as they walk the girl out.

"She's hot," Mike comments as they maneuver down the stairs. The girl stirs, moves a little and they stop a second so Santana can get a better grip on the girl's upper torso.

"What?" Santana shifts the weight under her arms and gives Mike her best disgusted look even though she knows he can't see it. "Are you kidding me?"

"What, she is," Mike replies, shrugging his shoulder as they keep moving down the staircase. "Fifty bucks."

"No," Santana says as they round the corner to the first floor.

"Dude, fifty bucks," Mike repeats. "You can't weasel."

"Bro, you're holding an unconscious girl in your hands and you want to bet on who can lay her first?"

Mike kicks the stairwell door open and walks backward out into the street. "Hell yeah I do. Fifty bucks, Lopez. Don't chicken out."

"You're so fucked in the head," she says, glancing down at blonde hair and an ash covered face. "Fine."

An EMT comes up to them when they hit the sidewalk and takes the girl from their hands, dropping her onto a stretcher and strapping an oxygen mask to her face. Santana turns at the sound of clapping from some of the guys to her left, congregated around the fire truck and smirking at them. Mike does a full turn and bows but Santana just rolls her eyes.

"Chang and Lopez," Matt cajoles, clapping his hands together. "Couple of modern day heroes."

"Don't you have a fire to put out?" Santana barks, marching back to the truck.

Mike laughs and tugs his helmet off. "How's my hair look?"

"We are so going to Hell," she mutters, shaking her head and shoving Mike into a tree.

"We already live there, baby," Mike jokes, bouncing away from the tree and spreading his arms wide, laughing at the burning building in front of them.

--

The fire doesn't give them much trouble, and aside from the girl they lugged down the stairs, the building is clear. Santana's shoving her oxygen tank and helmet into a compartment on the side of their truck when Matt walks by her, throwing her helmet next to hers. "Your girl's awake," he comments, tugging open his jacket and running his hand over his head.

"Who?" Santana pulls her hair out of its ponytail before putting it back up again and looking at Matt with a confused expression.

"That chick you and Chang manhandled out of there like champs," he says, laughing. "She's awake, over by the ambulance." He points over her right shoulder.

Whipping her head around, she looks to where Matt is pointing and sure enough the blonde she pulled out of the building is awake, sitting on the curb in front of an ambulance and talking to Mike. Shit. She claps Matt on the shoulder before turning to leave. "Thanks," she throws over her shoulder.

The blonde is laughing at something Mike is saying and her friend is grinning charmingly so she knows it's mission critical to get him the hell away from this girl before she's out fifty bucks. "Mike," she half-shouts. "Chief wants to see you."

Her friend cuts a glare to her. "No he doesn't."

"Yes he does," Santana insists, coming to a stop next to him. "Dude, he's pissed too. You better go over there."

Mike looks skeptical. "You're lying."

"You really want to take that bet?" Santana keeps her eyes on her friend but she can feel the girl on the curb observing their exchange with interest.

"I hate you," Mike bites out. He points a finger in her face. "If you're playing me, I will kung fu your ass."

"Yeah sure, Jackie Chan," she says with a roll of her eyes. "Make like a fucking tree, will you?"

Mike huffs and glances at the curb before stalking off in the direction of the trucks. Santana whirls to look at the blonde, knowing she doesn't have a lot of time, but her big plan to quickly seduce the girl into a stupor rushes right out of her when she takes a good look at her. Even with smudges of soot covering her cheeks and her hair in complete disarray, the girl is fairly breathtaking and Santana feels her eyebrows rise as she notices it.

"Uh," she says lamely, blinking down at the expectant look on the blonde's face.

"Hi," the girl replies hoarsely, stretching her hand out. "Brittany."

Santana swallows, grasping Brittany's hand briefly. "Lopez. Santana Lopez."

"Hi," Brittany repeats, a wide grin on her face. "Thanks for pulling me out of my apartment. I guess you saved my life, huh?"

"Yeah," Santana says, nodding. A shout comes from down the street and it breaks Santana out of her trance. Mike is standing next to their station chief, glaring in her direction.

Shifting around in her thick jacket, Santana uses a line she's never used before - the truth. "Look," she says. "My buddy Mike, the guy you were talking to, we have this bet going around to see who can get you to go out with them first," she explains, shrugging. "I know you don't know me, but I could use the fifty bucks and if you could just, I don't know, not go out with him that'd really do me a solid."

She gets it all out in a fast tumble, her eyes wide and pleading as they stare at Brittany's blue ones and she crosses her fingers that the move succeeds. She knows it does when Brittany laughs throatily and Santana finds herself grinning in response. "So you don't actually want to?"

Santana's eyes go wide. "Want to what?"

Brittany stands, shifting close to her and Santana takes a short step back at the sudden invasion of her personal space. "Go out."

"Where?" Santana croaks, glancing quickly to the side to see Mike fuming near one of the trucks.

Brittany laughs again and brings Santana's focus back before the blonde is grabbing a passing EMT and tugging a small memo pad and a pen out of his breast pocket. The guy shakes his head but continues on as Brittany rips a piece of paper out and scribbles something across the page.

"You're cute." Folding the paper in half, she steps even closer to Santana and presses the sheet into the palm of her hand, bringing her lips close to Santana's ear. "Call me," she whispers, hot breath brushing across Santana's face.

Santana recovers and lets out an indignant laugh. "And why do you think I'd even want to go out you?"

A warm rush of air brushes against her cheek again as Brittany pulls back and laughs, her eyes bright and smiling as she looks at Santana. "You want to," Brittany says with no room for denial. "It'll be fun, I promise."

Brittany laughs again and winks at her before turning away just as Mike arrives back at Santana's side and punches her in the arm.

"Ow, what the fuck?"

"The chief didn't need to see me, you jerk," Mike retorts, watching Brittany retreat towards a friend that had just arrived. "That's cheating."

"Whatever dude," Santana replies, ripping her gaze away from Brittany and smirking at Mike. She holds up the small sheet of paper in front of Mike's face and waves it around. "I got her number, asshole," she jokes. "How you like them apples?"

Mike lunges for her, laughing as she evades his grasp and jumps back towards the trucks. "Shut the hell up, Will Hunting."

"You owe me fifty bucks," she sing-songs, skipping backwards - quite a feat in heavy bunker gear.

They mock fight each other all the way back to the fire engine.

--

It takes Santana three days to call Brittany. Three whole days where she dials the number around 200 times - chickening out and hanging up each and every time. It's not that she doesn't want to see the girl, it's just…well she doesn't really know what it is but she hasn't been so immediately disarmed by a woman in a long time and to be honest it's kind of freaking her out. Which is just so dumb that it makes her want to punch a brick wall.

Mike is halfway through a chicken sandwich when he looks up and notices her fumbling the piece of paper with Brittany's number on it around on the table. She's rocking back in her chair with her phone in one hand as she just stares at the numbers despite having them way past memorized.

"If you don't call her," Mike warns around the food in his mouth. "I will."

"I did call her," Santana says, not looking up from the piece of paper.

"I want my fifty bucks back."

"Fuck off, Chang," she replies, snapping her head up to glare at him.

"Call her right now or give me my money so I can go out and show her how a girl is supposed to be treated."

Santana exhales loudly and purses her lips together. "Whatever."

"You're such a coward," he mutters with a chuckle, eying the edges of his sandwich before taking another bite.

Licking her lips and glaring at Mike, she makes a point of pressing each button of her phone loudly and with purpose, staring at him the entire time. She's still smirking at him, phone pressed to her ear when Brittany answers in a chipper voice.

"Brittany?" Santana drawls. "It's Santana."

--

Their first date doesn't go anywhere past the wall outside Brittany's hotel room. Santana doesn't even mean for it to happen, but Brittany opens the door wearing these jeans that hang just a little too low on her hips and her hair is sort of tousled in that way that looks effortless and she's smiling with these bright blue eyes and Santana's only human.

Brittany kisses her first, walks her across the hall to press against the wall and scratches her nails against the back of Santana's neck. When one of the doors open down the hall and an older couple walks out, Brittany giggles against Santana's lips and pulls them back inside her hotel room.

Later, when she's naked and breathless next to a laughing Brittany, she stares up at the ceiling and utters, "Best first date ever."

Brittany laughs harder and slaps Santana on the stomach. "You need to feed me."

She’ll ask, months later, why Brittany just decided to kiss her when she opened the door and Brittany will just shrug and smile. “Because I wanted to.”

--

The second time they go out, they actually make it to a restaurant before they end up in bed. Brittany picks the place and Santana is kind of shocked when they end up at some seedy corner bar in a bad part of town.

"I know it doesn't look like much," Brittany comments, grabbing Santana's hand and swinging it back and forth. "But it's got some of the best food in the city."

Santana eyes it with an arched eyebrow. "Whatever you say, babe."

Brittany laughs and pulls her towards the door. "Don't judge a book by its cover, Santana."

Shaking her head, Santana follows the girl inside and lets out a low breath. "Whatever you say," she repeats.

An hour later, with one of the best burgers she's ever had settling in her stomach and a pint of beer in front of her, Santana laughs at the happy expression on Brittany's face.

The blonde kicks her foot out against Santana's shin softly and laughs at her from across the table. "I told you," she drawls.

"You were right," Santana admits. "It was good."

"Don't you love surprises like that?" Brittany tilts her head to the side and her eyes sparkle and Santana feels an unfamiliar warmth swirl around in her chest.

"Yeah," Santana chuckles. "I do."

--

It's not that she's a commitment phobe or anything. It's just that girls seem to like her in bed a whole lot but once they get her out of there…well relationships don't usually stick to Santana. So it's kind of surprising when Brittany just kind of keeps calling her, keeps showing up at the station, keeps smiling at her over the dinner table or in bed.

She thinks maybe it's just that Brittany really, really likes the sex but then the blonde will say things like you're funny or I like talking to you or you should smile more and Santana gets all kinds of confused.

Then a month passes and Brittany's still around and Santana's trying to figure out how the hell that happened. Suddenly it starts to take effort to not trust Brittany, to not let her in and it absolutely scares the shit out Santana.

--

Their three month anniversary (Santana only knows this because Brittany told her) is pretty unremarkable as far as three month anniversaries go, but after dinner at some thai place near Santana’s apartment, Brittany asks Santana to take her somewhere.

“Where?” Santana asks, raising an eyebrow at the taller girl.

“Anywhere,” Brittany answers, smiling mysteriously and running a fingertip over the arched brow.

“Anywhere,” Santana repeats, sticking the keys into the ignition and hearing her truck roar to life.

“Yeah,” Brittany replies, settling back down in her seat and bringing her legs up to sit cross legged. “Is that hard to understand?”

“No,” Santana chuckles, putting the vehicle in drive and stepping on the gas. “Just vague and unhelpful.”

Brittany laughs and shoves her shoulder but doesn’t say anything as Santana steers the truck away from the restaurant.

It’s not actually on purpose or anything, but Santana takes them out to this old soccer field she used to hang out at when she was a kid. The goal posts are rusted away and net-less and the white lines that signify it’s a field are barely noticeable anymore, but the place is hidden away by a wall of trees around all four sides, blocking out the rest of the world and Santana kind of loves the place. When she was a teenager and she ran away from whenever she was staying that night, she’d come out here, fall down right at center field and stare at the stars for hours. Not even Puck or Mike know about it.

Brittany gives her a strange look as Santana parks the car near the line of trees and gets out. “Come on,” she orders, walking over to the other side as Brittany opens the door and holding her hand out to the blonde.

“When I said anywhere, I was hoping we’d go for ice cream,” Brittany says, sliding her palm against Santana’s and raising her eyebrows at the dark trees in front of them.

“You had ice cream at the restaurant,” Santana answers, walking them towards a path to the field.

“You can never have too much ice cream,” Brittany says brightly skipping next to her and swinging their hands. “What do you have against ice cream?”

Shaking her head and letting out a small laugh, Santana just keeps moving them forward, pulling Brittany closer to her as they walk through the trees. “You’re so weird.”

“Thanks!” Brittany exclaims, intertwining their fingers and kissing Santana on the cheek as they walk. “You say the nicest things, baby.”

The trees clear and they’re standing on the edge of field, the grass thick and dark under Santana’s boots as she walks them towards the center circle. For a second, Santana has to shove off the sudden nervousness that shoots through her at having Brittany in this place.

“A soccer field?” Brittany asks, her head whipping back and forth between the two metal goals on each end.

“Yeah,” Santana says, shoving a hand in her pocket and tugging Brittany along until they get to about where she estimates the center to be.

“Okay,” Brittany drawls. “Is this the part of the movie when I find out you’re actually a serial killer?”

“Yup,” Santana deadpans, letting go of Brittany’s hands and sitting down on cold grass.

A foot darts out to kick at Santana’s thigh but she grabs it before it makes contact and laughs up at Brittany. “Get down here, you goof.”

Brittany huffs a little but obeys, folding her legs under her and leaning into Santana’s side when she’s on the ground. “So what is this place?”

Santana falls backward until her back is on the grass and her hands are behind her head. “A field,” she offers, trying her best to sound nonchalant.

Following her down against the grass, Brittany puts her head on Santana’s abdomen and stares up that sky. “Okay,” she draws out.

“I used to come here,” she whispers towards the sky. “When I was kid.”

Brittany’s head turns and Santana feels her cheek settle against the fabric of her shirt. She looks down into curious blue eyes. “Yeah?” Brittany asks.

She shrugs. “Yeah, s’nice. You can’t see stars like this in the city.”

A warm laugh hits her ears and she smiles at Brittany in response. “You bring all the girls here?”

“Nope, just you.” She doesn’t mean it to sound the way it does, but it’s the truth. Turning to look back at the clear night sky, Santana tries to ignore the way Brittany just keeps looking at her but it gets hard after awhile.

“What?” Santana finally asks, looking back down at her.

“Nothing,” Brittany shrugs, pulling up a little to walk her fingers up the center of Santana’s stomach. “Just looking.”

She doesn’t want the moment to be anymore than just an empty field and an excuse to make out under the stars but with Brittany staring at her the way she is it feels way bigger than she wants it to.

“It’s just a field,” Santana bites out. “Stop looking at me that way.”

Brittany chuckles and turns back over to stare up at the sky. “What’s your favorite movie?”

“What?”

“Your favorite movie,” Brittany repeats. “What is it?”

“The Godfather, why?” Santana lets her eyes trace over Orion’s Belt as she moves her hands out from under her head and scrubs one over her face, the other settling to rest on her stomach near Brittany’s head.

A long peal of laughter shoots upward out of Brittany and Santana rolls her eyes out at the sound. “Well what’s yours then?”

“Mmmm,” Brittany hums and brings a long finger to tap at her chin in thought. “Don’t have one.”

“What, how can you not have one?”

“Just don’t,” Brittany answers simply. “What’s your favorite food?”

“Cheeseburgers,” Santana answers, a hand playing with the ends of Brittany’s hair spread out over her stomach. “Your’s?”

“Grilled cheese,” Brittany answers on a giggle. “We both like cheese.”

“It’s clearly fate,” Santana says sarcastically.

“If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

“Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy,” she answers without hesitation. “Were you reading an ice breaker book or something?” Santana pokes Brittany in the cheek as she asks the question and smiles when a hand darts out to swat the finger away.

“No,” Brittany pouts. “I just want to know random things about you. You know, just in case.”

“In case of what?” Santana laughs. “It’s not like this information is on medical forms or needs to be told at funerals.”

Brittany’s eyes narrow a little bit and she shifts to look at Santana, propping a little bit up off her stomach to stare at her. “What if we’re on the Newlywed Game?”

“Uh,” Santana croaks. “Is that show even still on?”

“How is that the point?” Brittany questions.

“You’re right, the point is that we’re not getting married.”

“Well not now,” Brittany agrees.

“Not now or ever,” Santana clarifies. “Do you think we could focus on making it to our third month before you plan our wedding?”

“I’m going to ignore that because you bought me dinner and I think you’re cute, but you should really stop talking like we’re going to break up,” Brittany warns.

Santana swallows at the look in Brittany’s eyes and props up on her elbow to make a zipping motion across her lips that makes Brittany laugh.

“Favorite season of the year,” Brittany says.

“Fall,” Santana answers. “You?”

“Spring,” she chirps back, plucking at Santana’s shirt. “Best childhood memory.”

The question pulls a sharp inhale throughout her body and Brittany seems to feel it thrum past her because she sits up a little and stares at Santana quizzically.

Santana manages a smile but it feels stretched unnaturally across her face. “Ask me something easier,” she mumbles.

Brittany presses her palm against the side of Santana’s stomach were a jagged scar runs over her ribs and Santana feels a curious warmth in her chest at Brittany’s expression. The taller girl takes a deep breath and hesitation flickers across her face before she opens her mouth to speak. “Want to make out?”

She smiles and nods, chuckling under her breath because that’s definitely the easiest question in the book. Instead of answering, she reaches out to pull Brittany’s arm, jerking her off balance until she’s spread on top of Santana and their lips are pressed together.

--

They're congregated just outside the big garage doors at the station, Matt smoking his cigarette as Mike chucks cards into an upside down helmet a few feet away from him. Santana just rocks back and forth in her chair and watches the cars drive by on the street.

"You see the Giants game last night?" Mike asks absently as he flicks another card in front of him.

"Subject change," Matt orders. "Giants are playing like god damn pussies these days."

"Word," Santana utters under her breath, her eyes watching a leaf as it flutters slowly to the ground.

Mike leans back and pulls his shirt up to reveal his stomach. “You think I could make it as Mr. March this year in the calender?”

Santana bursts out laughing as Mike runs his hands over his abs with a contemplative expression. Matt just shakes his head and chuckles. “They let you in that thing? That calender is so gay.”

Mike scowls and drops his shirt back down to punch Matt in the arm. “Dude, I get so much play off of that thing,” Mike mocks.

“Yeah, enjoy all the dick that gets thrown your way, man,” Matt laughs.

A woman walking up to them interrupts the small fight that’s brewing and Santana lets her chair fall forward as her eyes run up the smooth legs, short skirt and small waist.

"Hello," the woman greets and Santana watches Matt's jaw drop as he runs his eyes up and down.

"Hi," Santana offers, clearing her throat. "Can we help you?"

"Yes," she replies. "I'm looking for Chief Schuester, is he here?"

Matt shoots up from his chair and smiles at her. "I'm sure he's back there, I'll take you."

Santana rolls her eyes and Mike laughs as Matt escorts their guest into the station eagerly.

"Fifty bucks," Mike comments as he shoots another card into his helmet.

"Uh, no," Santana declines, rolling her head around on her shoulders.

"Fifty," Mike sing-songs. "You don't get to say no, those are the rules."

"I'm saying no," Santana reiterates, stretching her hands up in the air and wondering what Brittany's doing right now.

"Dude," Mike starts again, turning a little in his chair to look at her.

"I fucking said no," Santana hisses, arching an eyebrow at him as she crosses her arms over her chest. “Drop it.”

"What is wrong with you?"

"Nothing, I'm just not down with the game anymore."

Mike's eyes go wide with sudden realization before he starts laughing. "Don't tell me you're like actually in a relationship or something."

Santana doesn't answer, just rocks her chair back again and focuses her eyes everywhere but at Mike.

Pushing her companionably on the shoulder, Mike lets out a surprised but happy breath. "Dude, well done. Who is it?"

"Brittany," she answers, shrugging.

"Who?"

"That chick we pulled out of the building on Lexington?"

"You serious?"

"I guess," Santana replies, still refusing to look at Mike.

"Awesome," he breathes. "She's hot shit."

Her hand darts out and smacks him in the chest. "Don't talk about my girlfriend like that," she jokes, the word girlfriend feeling strange as it leaves her mouth.

Grabbing his chest in mock pain, Mike keeps laughing, barely able to get the word, "Awesome," out again, but he manages.

She doesn't say anything but a small smile spreads across her face because yeah, it is kind of awesome.

--

Brittany meets the guys (Matt, Mike and Puck) on a Saturday night at Santana’s favorite bar near her apartment. They’re at the bar maybe an hour and Brittany’s already won them all over. It wasn’t hard once Brittany pointed to the Pac-Man arcade box near the end of the bar and humbly mentioned that she was pretty good at the game. Twenty minutes and one high score later, Brittany has Puck staring at her wide-eyed, Matt trying to get her to challenge drunken bar patrons for money and Mike laughing hysterically at the whole thing.

Smiling proudly, Brittany waves them off and bounces back over to Santana, wrapping her arms around Santana’s neck and bumping their hips together. Matt, Mike and Puck descend on the now-vacant arcade game to try and beat Brittany’s score.

“Your friends are funny,” Brittany whispers into Santana’s ear.

“They like you,” Santana laughs, kind of shocked by it all.

Mike slaps the side of the arcade box as Matt slides his quarters in and Puck strides over to them, bumping his fist on Santana’s shoulder and smiling at Brittany in a way that makes Santana instantly uneasy.

“So Brittany,” Puck starts, waving a beer bottle in the blonde’s direction. “Has Santana ever told you about the time-,”

“Shut it, Puck,” Santana orders.

“You don’t even know what I was going to say!” He exclaims, his eyes roaming the bar as he talks. “We should do shots.”

Chuckling at Puck, Brittany bumps their hips together again and taps her fingers against the bone of Santana’s shoulder. “How do you two know each other?”

Santana tries to stop herself from stiffening up as she searches quickly for a subject change but Puck, her idiotic best friend opens his stupid mouth and spouts complete inanity. “We were in the same foster home when we were... how old were we?” He bumps Santana’s bicep again with the fist clutching his beer. “Ten?”

She doesn’t make eye contact with Brittany but she can feel the way her girlfriend’s body perks up in interest. “You were in foster care?”

Halfway through nodding and then suggesting they order those caramel apple shots on special, Puck decides to open his stupid mouth again and really, Santana is going to punch him. In the teeth.

“Yeah, she never told you?” Puck takes a long swig of his drink.

Two sets of eyes are on her, one amused and the other curious and when Mike turns and catches her eye she gives him her best save me expression.

“No, she hasn’t,” Brittany mutters her fingers still tracing shapes over Santana’s shoulder, her body still snug into Santana’s side.

“Dude, those stories are fucking golden,” Puck says, laughing. “So this one time, we had these two bastard foster parents right?”

Santana’s stomach drops and she crosses her fingers that the story Puck’s about to tell doesn’t involve weapons, drugs or arrest records, but Mike interrupts them before the other guy can finish his tale.

“How’s it going?” Mike interjects, stepping in front of them with a cheery smile. “We should do shots.”

“Totally!” Santana exclaims, feeling both Brittany and Puck jerk away slightly at her loud outburst.

“I think Matt’s going to beat your high score,” Mike adds, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans and gesturing to Brittany with a subtle thrust of his hips.

“Nooooo,” Brittany jokes.

Puck straightens up quickly and his gaze darts to Mike’s furiously moving form near the arcade box. “He’s not really,” Puck says, turning a suspicious gaze to Mike.

“Dude, no joke,” Mike continues, cocking a thumb to Mike’s back. “You’re about to be out a dime.”

“Fuck,” Puck breathes, breaking away and weaving through the crowd of people.

Then it’s just the three of them and Mike kind of rocks back and forth on his heels while Santana tries to avoid the way Brittany’s looking at her.

“Soooo,” Mike drawls. He smiles crookedly at Brittany. “I hear you can dance.”

Brittany laughs and lets go of Santana’s neck to slide her arm around her waist. “Who did you hear that from?”

Shrugging, Mike chuckles along with her and tips his head towards a jukebox in the corner, a low bass beat thumping out of it already. “Dance off?”

“Dude,” Santana says, kicking out as his shins. “You can’t just hijack my girlfriend.”

“Who says?” Mike challenges, grinning at her. “I saw her first anyway.”

It gets Brittany to laugh again and Santana can feel the tension from earlier start to flow out of them. She brings her hand down to tangle with the one perched on her hip, twisting a ring Brittany wears around on her index finger.

MIke takes his hands out of his pockets and throws his arms up in defeat. “Okay, okay. How ‘bout shots?”

“Shots are good,” Santana says definitively.

“Shots!” Mike announces in a loud voice. He lifts his arm up in the air and twirls towards the bar.

That’s when she realizes maybe sending Mike away was the wrong plan because now she’s like alone with Brittany and she can feel the tension and curiosity creeping its way back into Brittany’s limbs.

But Brittany squeezes the hand she’s holding on Santana’s hip and brings her lips to Santana’s ear. “You called me your girlfriend,” she says in an awed whisper.

Santana jerks away to look into bright blue eyes and laughs. “Well yeah.”

Brittany leans forward to press their lips together and they stay that way until Mike breaks them up with purple colored shot classes and a drunken grin.

--

Santana meets Brittany’s best friends (Quinn, Rachel and Finn) a week later only because Brittany insists it’s only fair after their night with Matt, Mike and Puck. Santana’s not much for friends - at least not the ones that aren’t hers - but Brittany gives her this pout that Santana can’t resist and sure enough she’s pretty much agreeing to whatever it is Brittany wants.

The whole meeting is somewhere between awkward and hilarious. Santana blames it partly on her own naturally surly attitude, partly on the way Quinn keeps glaring at her from across the table and partly on the way watching Rachel is like watching a dwarf hopped up on speed.

“So you’re a firefighter?” Rachel, this short, brown haired thing, asks, bouncing around a little in her seat.

“Yup,” Santana says, nodding before taking another swig of her beer. Brittany runs a finger down the seam in the side of her jeans and bumps their shoulders together.

Quinn, Brittany’s high and mighty doctor friend with an arrogance that Santana can smell about a mile away, sets a martini glass back down on the table and leans back in her chair a little. “Make a lot of money doing that?”

There’s a scathing reply right on the tip of her tongue but before it can be vocalized, Quinn sucks in a pained breath and jerks away from Rachel. “What?” Quinn shoots at the shorter girl.

“Quinn,” Rachel reprimands. “You can’t just ask stuff like that.”

Quinn rolls her eyes but stays silent and sinks a little further into her chair. Turning back to Santana, Rachel grins triumphantly and looks like she’s going to say something, but Finn leans forward before she can open her mouth. “Firefighters are so cool,” he breathes, his eyes wide and shiny.

Santana can’t help but laugh, mostly because Finn looks like a giant overgrown man-child but partly because he’s twirling a pink umbrella in his electric blue cocktail as he says it.

Because she’s feeling buzzed by the three whiskey sidecars she’s consumed and by the childlike gleam in Finn’s eyes, she makes an effort to be nice for one of the few times in her life. “Come by the station,” she offers, shifting around in her seat. “I’ll show you around.”

It shouldn’t be possible but Finn’s eyes go wider and he smiles all bright and happy at her as Brittany chuckles beside her. “That would be like so awesome,” he says, popping a cherry in his mouth from the stick of them in his drink.

“Kind of a dangerous job,” Quinn adds, joining the conversation again and leaning back forward. “Firefighting. You into that? Danger, I mean?”

A hand squeezes Santana’s thigh as Rachel elbows Quinn again and another gasp of pain leaves her mouth. “Quinn, stop being a bully.”

“How is that being a bully?! I’m making conversation,” Quinn argues, her arm on the back of Rachel’s chair as she turns to the other girl.

“You know how,” Rachel replies, turning to face Quinn and steeling her shoulders back. “Honestly, Quinn, Brittany is our best friend and she obviously really likes Santana and it’s our duty as friends to make her feel welcome into our circle and,” Rachel takes a deep breath as she gets ready to continue and Santana watches as Finn laughs.

“Hey,” Finn interjects, leaning towards Santana. “Do you guys have those firefighting dogs at the station?”

She arches an eyebrow at him. “Firefighting dogs?”

“You know,” Finn continues, waving his hand around like she should get it. “Those dogs with the black and white spots.”

“Uh, no,” Santana says. “We don’t.”

It’s like she just told the kid Santa Claus isn’t real - Finn does his best aw shucks motion and stands up. “I’m going to get another one of these,” he announces, shaking his now-empty glass in the air.

Turning to Brittany, she observes Quinn and Rachel, still locked in a heated argument about Quinn’s attitude, with a skeptical eye. “Your friends are weird.”

“They like you,” Brittany whispers, her lips close to Santana’s ear.

“That’s weirder,” Santana replies, watching Quinn pretend to be annoyed with Rachel as she tries to hide a smile.

Next Part
Tags: a burning thing, fic: glee, pairing: brittany/santana, rating: r
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